The Monk by Matthew Lewis
The Monk by Matthew Lewis
Burke, Edmund. A philosophical enquiry into the sublime and beautiful. Routledge, 2009.
Edmund Burke, one of the most famous philosophers, discussed the philosophical difference between beauty and sublime in his most famous work, “A philosophical enquiry into the sublime and beautiful.” The work was originally published in the year 1757 and since then, it has been used as the source of differentiating between sublime and beautiful, as the other philosophers, share their ideologies, in comparison to that of Burke’s philosophy. Talking about the difference between beautiful and sublime, the author has mentioned that beautiful is small, delicate, polished and smooth. On the other hand, sublime is huge, rough, overwhelming, terrifying and obscure as well. One of the most important aspects of beauty is that it satisfies the aesthetic urges and is quite pleasing and well-formed. On the other hand, sublime is the one having the power to compel, as well as destroy human beings. Moreover, beauty has a formal cause of love and passion, while sublime has the formal cause of fear and death. Beauty denotes fitness and perfection, while sublime only depicts destruction, tension, as well as vastness, magnificence, and infinity. Shedding light on the final cause of the two concepts, Burke has mentioned that the final cause of beauty is the providence of God, while the final cause of sublime is the creation of Satan and battles by the god. He also mentioned that beauty depicts the neoclassical era, while sublime highlights the romantic era.
Evaluation and Application
The evaluation of the text reveals that Burke has highlighted a significant contrast between beautiful and sublime through his philosophical analysis of the two terms. He has highlighted the difference of passion and fear through the concepts of beautiful and sublime. Burke's theory of pain and terror is applicable to the concept of sublime is the way that these are associated with fear, as well as represent the rough structure, specifically based on suffering. The evaluation also highlights the fact that sublime does not provide any good experience or feeling to human beings, therefore, it is associated with pain and suffering. Moreover, it also represents the creation of battle and Satan by the god, which is also nothing less than pain, suffering, and terror. On the other hand, Burke’s theory of power applies to the concept of beautiful in the way that it is smooth, polished and provides a pleasing feel to the human beings. Power is a kind of addictive fell which satisfies the aesthetic sense of human beings as well. The concept of power also relates to a providence which is a major aspect of beauty. Therefore, Burkes' theory of pain and terror is applicable to the concept of sublime and his theory of power is applied to the concept of beauty.
Lewis, Matthew Gregory. The monk: a romance. Broadview Press, 1907.
Matthew Gregory Lewis, authored a gothic novel in the year, 1796, which was entitled as “The monk: a romance." The summary of the texts provides the details about a character who held an important position in society, from the religious perspective. However, ended up surrendering to the evil in him and got punished for committing the sins. The text of the novel provides detail about the character of Ambrosio, who was famous, as well as a reputed monk. People used to come from far away to listen to his sermons. He preferred piousness and was quite firm in his beliefs, which was the main reason that he ordered the killing of a nun. The nun had committed a sin by revealing her wish to get married, which was against her belief and oath. However, shortly after that incident, the monk fell in love with a young girl and developed the wish to have her. He knew very well that marrying or even desiring a girl was against his belief, even then, instead of controlling his wishes, he made the move to get his wishes fulfilled. He went to the house of the girl to pray for her ailing mother and tried to molest her, however, she was saved by her mother. He did not stop there and refrain himself from the impure wishes, but killed the mother of the girl, then kidnapped and raped her, as there was no one else who could have helped her ta that time. The monk had taken help from an evil figure, which had made him evil as well and at last, he was punished for killing the nun, the girls;' mother and committing the sin towards the girl as well.
Evaluation and Application
The evaluation of the text highlights the suffering and pain of different characters, which they had to bear due to the evil nature of the monk. He was truly a terrible character which had terrorized other characters in the novel through his existence. Burke's theory of terror and pain is applicable to the gothic novel in the way that it helps to understand the evil nature of the character of the monk. Although he was good and pious in the start of the description, it was only after interacting with the evil spirit that he lost control on his thought and actions or in other words, he did not want to control himself. He just wanted to fulfill his desires ignoring his faith and belief, in addition to ignoring the fact that he had punished a nun for the same reason.
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